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How to Get Back to Your Favorite Activities, With or Without Pain

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts.


There are two key questions Dr. Asare Christian asks each of his patients in their first meeting: “What is your understanding of why you have pain?” and “What has your pain prevented you from doing?” Answering these questions, he believes, is critical to developing a treatment plan that is actually going to work. In this episode, we examine each question in-depth, understanding why each is so important and what can be done with the answers.

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An excerpt from the episode:

Laura (Host): Each time you see a new patient, your focus is first and foremost on getting to know them and meeting them where they’re at ... To do that you begin with two fundamental questions. What are those two questions and why do you ask them?

Dr. Asare Christian: So the two questions I ask most of my patients which came about as a result of seeing patients over and over, is first, “what is your understanding of why you have pain?”...The second question is, “what does your pain prevent you from doing?”

Sometimes when I ask patients, “what is your understanding of why you have pain?” The response is that sometimes people get surprised. They go, “well aren’t you the doctor, aren’t you supposed to figure that out?” And sometimes, those who have been around long enough have received something from from other clinicians where the description of their pain is based on anatomy, saying that, “well, it's your L4 herniation or your L5 herniation,” or something that’s based on imaging… even though that specific pathology or that specific finding from imaging has been fixed but they are still in pain…

This gives me a place to really educate patients … This also gives me a place to get a sense of their belief systems because one of the things I also recognize as part of this discussion is really the lack of information or misinformation a patient has received about their pain. This is a function of the healthcare system. They have been told that because you have arthritis in your knee that explains your pain, or because you have this tissue finding and these inflammatory markers, that explains your pain. This is good when you have acute pain, but by the time they get to me … pain has become chronic and this is where education becomes necessary before we even talk about medications.

[this is an excerpt only - for the full episode, listen to the podcast above]

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